Dan Bau, Vietnam’s special musical instrument

15:19 | 28/12/2016 Culture & Art

(VEN) - Musicologists are proposing Vietnamese Dan Bau (monochord) as a part of the intangible cultural heritage of humankind to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).  

dan bau vietnams special musical instrument

Musicologists confirmed the unique value of Vietnamese monochord at a workshop on monochord and its role in the Vietnamese culture. “There are many kinds of one-string musical instruments in the world. However Vietnamese monochord is very different compared to others and brings a unique characteristic. Vietnamese monochord with clean and seductive sound represents people’s language and soul. It is considered traditional musical instrument in the history and culture of Vietnam,” Head of the National Institute of Music Nguyen Binh Dinh said.

Bamboo, species of small and strong reed and gourd skin which can be easily found in Vietnamese countryside are all we need for making a monochord. It makes also Vietnamese monochord among most simple but wonderful musical instruments in the world.

According to many researchers, Vietnamese monochord body was made of a piece of bamboo tube in the previous period and is made of long rectangular wooden box of approximately one meter at present. A large head has eight kinds of musical sounds, as produced from calabash earthenware, stretched hides, wood, stone, metal, silk, string and bamboo, musical sound, while a small one is used for tuning.

Phan Kim Thanh, a Vietnamese monochord artist said that monochord creates sounding waves, which are seen as its unique characteristic. When playing, the musician plucks the string while touching it lightly with the side of his hand at a point producing a harmony. As the flexible rod causes the tension of the string to vary, the pitch may be made to rise or fall, the note may be lengthened or shortened, and trills may be played. One can feel Vietnamese people’s language and soul from clean and seductive sound of a monochord.

With unique features, monochord is familiar to life of ordinary people, and always appears on the stage of traditional and contemporary art. Monochord has been put into regular teaching since 1956 in the Vietnam National Academy of Music, formerly the Hanoi Conservatory of Music. Many works composed inclusively for monochord have been performed across the world and monochord is seen as a cultural symbol of Vietnam.

Vietnam can be proud of monochord, a traditional musical instrument with wonderful sound praised by international friends, said Artist Nguyen Tien.

Phuong Tam